Jan 252020

Very Bad Things is one hell of a dark comedy and although I normally don’t care for that subgenre, I did laugh quite a few times and felt a tinsy-bit bad doing so. Also features a fun ensemble cast with Christian Slater easily being the standout.



Very Bad Things
— Shout Select —

Genre(s): Comedy, Crime
Shout Factory | R – 100 min. – $27.99 | January 28, 2020

Date Published: 01/25/2020 | Author: The Movieman

Directed by: Peter Berg
Writer(s): Peter Berg (written by)
Cast: Christian Slater, Cameron Diaz, Daniel Stern, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Jon Favreau, Jeremy Piven, Leland Orser

Features: Commentary, Interviews, Still Gallery, Theatrical Trailer
Slip Cover: No
Digital Copy: No
Formats Included: Blu-ray
Number of Discs: 1

Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 5.1), English (DTS-HD MA 2.0)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 1.85
Subtitles: English SDH
Disc Size: 41.63 GB
Total Bitrate: 43.07 Mbps
Codecs: MPEG-4 AVC
Region(s): A

Shout Factory provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Blog Post.
The opinions I share are my own.

THE MOVIE — 3.75/5

Plot Synopsis: Kyle Fisher (JON FAVREAU) has one last night to celebrate life as a single man before marrying Laura (CAMERON DIAZ), so he sets out to Vegas with four of his best buddies: Robert Boyd (CHRISTIAN SLATER), Adam Berkow (DANIEL STERN), Michael Berkow (JEREMY PIVEN) and Charles Moore (LELAND ORSER). But their swanky, drug-and-alcohol-fueled bachelor party goes bust when their “stripper” cashes in her chips during a deranged sexual escapade. And hers is just the first of the bodies to pile up. The five friends decide to bury the evidence… but fate has a way of not letting the truth stay buried for long.

Quick Hit Review: Very Bad Things is a dark (VERY dark) comedy from 1998 and the feature film debut from Peter Berg. This is a movie I last saw probably close to 20 years ago when it was released on DVD, and my impressions back then weren’t high. But it would seem time, and growing older, has helped made me appreciate dark comedies a bit more and watching it again, I did find it wickedly funny, even hilarious at times.

While this is an ensemble cast, Christian Slater and, to lesser extents Jeremy Piven and Cameron Diaz, were the absolutely highlights, Slater especially made for a humorous psychopath, a character I kind of liked to hate. Piven more or less plays a similar type of character, maybe with less hubris while Diaz, particularly in the third act, is the bridezilla before becoming unhinged towards the end, karma coming back to bite for what the group of friends did…

The rest of the cast were adequate, though taking a step back to Slater (who also served as a producer). Jon Favreau had his moments going from a good-natured, innocent guy before taking a level of dark cruelty lying to his best friend’s wife (played by Jeanne Tripplehorn); Daniel Stern shows a bit more reserve compared to a movie like Home Alone (and more aligned with City Slickers); and Leland Orser reminded me that he has been an underutilized character actor, but doesn’t make a huge impact here).

In the past, I hadn’t been a fan of dark comedies but in recent years, revisiting a few at random, have come to enjoy and Very Bad Things is easily one of the darkest (basically pitch black) I’ve come across and you do have to be in a certain mindset as these character devolve into absolutely debauchery with each cruel crime, making the accidental death of a prostitute being the least of them all.



This is release #99 from the Shout Select series. It’s not jam-packed with features, but a certain update from the DVD release.

Included is a new Audio Commentary with Witney Seibold and William Bibbiani, hosts of “Critically Acclaimed” podcast; new interviews with Jeremy Piven (17:23) and Daniel Stern (21:00), a Still Gallery (6:54) and the Theatrical Trailer (1:15).

Always nice to hear from actors all these years later and both Piven and Stern provide their recollections on the project, though a shame Berg and Favreau didn’t (or couldn’t) participate (Diaz doesn’t seem like the kind of person willing to sit down and reflect on a movie like this).


VIDEO – 4.0/5

With no mention on the back cover or Shout Factory’s website, presumably they were provided this 1080p transfer from Universal. As such, the movie, which was presented in its original 1.85 widescreen aspect ratio, the high-definition picture looks pretty good, a bit heavy on the grain/noise but colors were vibrant and I didn’t really notice any significant instances of artifacting, aliasing and appeared clean of dust, scratches or other flaws.

AUDIO – 3.5/5

With these types of movies, I don’t expect much and as it is, this DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 is perfectly serviceable. Depth is okay but hardly noteworthy with light output from the rear speakers, while dialogue did come through with fine clarity from the center channel.


OVERALL – 3.75/5

Very Bad Things is one hell of a dark comedy and although I normally don’t care for that subgenre, I did laugh quite a few times and felt a tinsy-bit bad doing so. Also features a fun ensemble cast with Christian Slater easily being the standout. This Blu-ray, as part of the Shout Select line, offers up good video/audio transfers and a nice selection of bonus features.

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